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Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic ofMoralsThe Project Gutenberg EBook of Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Moralsby Immanuel Kant (#2 in our series by Immanuel Kant)Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country beforedownloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it.Do not change or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at thebottom of this file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the filemay be used. You can also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to getinvolved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of MoralsAuthor: Immanuel KantRelease Date: May, 2004 [EBook #5682] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file wasfirst posted on August 7, 2002]Edition: 10Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPALS OF THEMETAPHYSIC OF MORALS ***This eBook was prepared by Matthew Stapleton.1785FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF THE METAPHYSIC OF MORALSby Immanuel Kanttranslated by Thomas Kingsmill AbbottFundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 1PREFACEAncient Greek philosophy was divided into three sciences: physics, ethics, and logic. This division isperfectly suitable to the nature of the thing; and the only improvement that can be made in it is to add theprinciple on which it is based, so that we may both satisfy ourselves of its completeness, and also be able todetermine correctly the necessary subdivisions.All rational knowledge is either material or formal: the former considers some object, the latter is concernedonly with the form of the understanding and of the reason itself, and with the universal laws of thought ingeneral without distinction of its objects. Formal philosophy is called logic. Material philosophy, however,has to do with determinate objects and the laws to which they are subject, is again twofold; for these laws areeither laws of nature or of freedom. The science of the former is physics, that of the latter, ethics; they are alsocalled natural philosophy and moral philosophy respectively.Logic cannot have any empirical part; that is, a part in which the universal and necessary laws of thoughtshould rest on grounds taken from experience; otherwise it would not be logic, i.e., a canon for theunderstanding or the reason, valid for all thought, and capable of demonstration. Natural and moralphilosophy, on the contrary, can each have their empirical part, since the former has to determine the laws ofnature as an object of experience; the latter the laws of the human will, so far as it is affected by nature: theformer, however, being laws according to which everything does happen; the latter, laws according to whicheverything ought to happen. Ethics, however, must also consider the conditions under which what ought tohappen frequently does not.We may call all philosophy empirical, so far as it is based on grounds of experience: on the other band, thatwhich delivers its doctrines from a priori principles alone we may call pure philosophy. When the latter ismerely formal it is logic; if it is restricted to definite objects of the understanding it is metaphysic.In this way there arises the idea of a twofold metaphysic- a metaphysic of nature and a metaphysic of morals.Physics will thus have an empirical and also a rational part. It is the same with Ethics; but here the empiricalpart might have the special name of practical anthropology, the name morality being appropriated to therational part.All trades, arts, and handiworks have gained by division of labour, namely, when, instead of one man doingeverything, each confines himself to a certain kind of work distinct from others in the treatment it requires, soas to be able to perform it with greater facility and in the greatest perfection. Where the different kinds ofwork are not distinguished and divided, where everyone is a jack-of-all-trades, there manufactures remain stillin the greatest barbarism. It might deserve to be considered whether pure philosophy in all its parts does notrequire a man specially devoted to it, and whether it would not be better for the whole business of science ifthose who, to please the tastes of the public, are wont to blend the rational and empirical elements together,mixed in all sorts of proportions unknown to themselves, and who call themselves independent thinkers,giving the name of minute philosophers to those who apply themselves to the rational part only- if these, I say,were warned not to carry on two employments together which differ widely in the treatment they demand, foreach of which perhaps a special talent is required, and the combination of which in one person only producesbunglers. But I only ask here whether the nature of science does not require that we should always carefullyseparate the empirical from the rational part, and prefix to Physics proper (or empirical physics) a metaphysicof nature, and to practical anthropology a metaphysic of morals, which must be carefully cleared of everythingempirical, so that we may know how much can be accomplished by pure reason in both cases, and from whatsources it draws this its a priori teaching, and that whether the latter inquiry is conducted by all moralists(whose name is legion), or only by some who feel a calling thereto.As my concern here is with moral philosophy, I limit the question suggested to this: Whether it is not of theutmost necessity to construct a pure thing which is only empirical and which belongs to anthropology? for thatFundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 2such a philosophy must be possible is evident from the common idea of duty and of the moral laws. Everyonemust admit that if a law is to have moral force, i.e., to be the basis of an obligation, it must carry with itabsolute necessity; that, for example, the precept, "Thou shalt not lie," is not valid for men alone, as if otherrational beings had no need to observe it; and so with all the other moral laws properly so called; that,therefore, the basis of obligation must not be sought in the nature of man, or in the circumstances in the worldin which he is placed, but a priori simply in the conception of pure reason; and although any other preceptwhich is founded on principles of mere experience may be in certain respects universal, yet in as far as it restseven in the least degree on an empirical basis, perhaps only as to a motive, such a precept, while it may be apractical rule, can never be called a moral law.Thus not only are moral laws with their principles essentially distinguished from every other kind of practicalknowledge in which there is anything empirical, but all moral philosophy rests wholly on its pure part. Whenapplied to man, it does not borrow the least thing from the knowledge of man himself (anthropology), butgives laws a priori to him as a rational being. No doubt these laws require a judgement sharpened byexperience, in order on the one hand to distinguish in what cases they are applicable, and on the other toprocure for them access to the will of the man and effectual influence on conduct; since man is acted on by somany inclinations that, though capable of the idea of a practical pure reason, he is not so easily able to make iteffective in concreto in his life.A metaphysic of morals is therefore indispensably necessary, not merely for speculative reasons, in order toinvestigate the sources of the practical principles which are to be found a priori in our reason, but also becausemorals themselves are liable to all sorts of corruption, as long as we are without that clue and supreme canonby which to estimate them correctly. For in order that an action should be morally good, it is not enough that itconform to the moral law, but it must also be done for the sake of the law, otherwise that conformity is onlyvery contingent and uncertain; since a principle which is not moral, although it may now and then produceactions conformable to the law, will also often produce actions which contradict it. Now it is only a purephilosophy that we can look for the moral law in its purity and genuineness (and, in a practical matter, this isof the utmost consequence): we must, therefore, begin with pure philosophy (metaphysic), and without it therecannot be any moral philosophy at all. That which mingles these pure principles with the empirical does notdeserve the name of philosophy (for what distinguishes philosophy from common rational knowledge is that ittreats in separate sciences what the latter only comprehends confusedly); much less does it deserve that ofmoral philosophy, since by this confusion it even spoils the purity of morals themselves, and counteracts itsown end.Let it not be thought, however, that what is here demanded is already extant in the propaedeutic prefixed bythe celebrated Wolf to his moral philosophy, namely, his so-called general practical philosophy, and that,therefore, we have not to strike into an entirely new field. just because it was to be a general practicalphilosophy, it has not taken into consideration a will of any particular kind- say one which should bedetermined solely from a priori principles without any empirical motives, and which we might call a pure will,but volition in general, with all the actions and conditions which belong to it in this general signification. Bythis it is distinguished from a metaphysic of morals, just as general logic, which treats of the acts and canonsof thought in general, is distinguished from transcendental philosophy, which treats of the particular acts andcanons of pure thought, i.e., that whose cognitions are altogether a priori. For the metaphysic of morals has toexamine the idea and the principles of a possible pure will, and not the acts and conditions of human volitiongenerally, which for the most part are drawn from psychology. It is true that moral laws and duty are spokenof in the general moral philosophy (contrary indeed to all fitness). But this is no objection, for in this respectalso the authors of that science remain true to their idea of it; they do not distinguish the motives which areprescribed as such by reason alone altogether a priori, and which are properly moral, from the empiricalmotives which the understanding raises to general conceptions merely by comparison of experiences; but,without noticing the difference of their sources, and looking on them all as homogeneous, they consider onlytheir greater or less amount. It is in this way they frame their notion of obligation, which, though anything butmoral, is all that can be attained in a philosophy which passes no judgement at all on the origin of all possibleFundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 3practical concepts, whether they are a priori, or only a posteriori.Intending to publish hereafter a metaphysic of morals, I issue in the first instance these fundamentalprinciples. Indeed there is properly no other foundation for it than the critical examination of a pure practicalReason; just as that of metaphysics is the critical examination of the pure speculative reason, alreadypublished. But in the first place the former is not so absolutely necessary as the latter, because in moralconcerns human reason can easily be brought to a high degree of correctness and completeness, even in thecommonest understanding, while on the contrary in its theoretic but pure use it is wholly dialectical; and in thesecond place if the critique of a pure practical reason is to be complete, it must be possible at the same time toshow its identity with the speculative reason in a common principle, for it can ultimately be only one and thesame reason which has to be distinguished merely in its application. I could not, however, bring it to suchcompleteness here, without introducing considerations of a wholly different kind, which would be perplexingto the reader. On this account I have adopted the title of Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Moralsinstead of that of a Critical Examination of the pure practical reason.But in the third place, since a metaphysic of morals, in spite of the discouraging title, is yet capable of beingpresented in popular form, and one adapted to the common understanding, I find it useful to separate from itthis preliminary treatise on its fundamental principles, in order that I may not hereafter have need to introducethese necessarily subtle discussions into a book of a more simple character.The present treatise is, however, nothing more than the investigation and establishment of the supremeprinciple of morality, and this alone constitutes a study complete in itself and one which ought to be kept apartfrom every other moral investigation. No doubt my conclusions on this weighty question, which has hithertobeen very unsatisfactorily examined, would receive much light from the application of the same principle tothe whole system, and would be greatly confirmed by the adequacy which it exhibits throughout; but I mustforego this advantage, which indeed would be after all more gratifying than useful, since the easy applicabilityof a principle and its apparent adequacy give no very certain proof of its soundness, but rather inspire a certainpartiality, which prevents us from examining and estimating it strictly in itself and without regard toconsequences.I have adopted in this work the method which I think most suitable, proceeding analytically from commonknowledge to the determination of its ultimate principle, and again descending synthetically from theexamination of this principle and its sources to the common knowledge in which we find it employed. Thedivision will, therefore, be as follows:1 FIRST SECTION. Transition from the common rational knowledge of morality to the philosophical.2 SECOND SECTION. Transition from popular moral philosophy to the metaphysic of morals.3 THIRD SECTION. Final step from the metaphysic of morals to the critique of the pure practical reason.SEC_1FIRST SECTIONTRANSITION FROM THE COMMON RATIONAL KNOWLEDGEOF MORALITY TO THE PHILOSOPHICALNothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, withoutqualification, except a good will. Intelligence, wit, judgement, and the other talents of the mind, however theymay be named, or courage, resolution, perseverance, as qualities of temperament, are undoubtedly good andFundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 4desirable in many respects; but these gifts of nature may also become extremely bad and mischievous if thewill which is to make use of them, and which, therefore, constitutes what is called character, is not good. It isthe same with the gifts of fortune. Power, riches, honour, even health, and the general well-being andcontentment with one's condition which is called happiness, inspire pride, and often presumption, if there isnot a good will to correct the influence of these on the mind, and with this also to rectify the whole principleof acting and adapt it to its end. The sight of a being who is not adorned with a single feature of a pure andgood will, enjoying unbroken prosperity, can never give pleasure to an impartial rational spectator. Thus agood will appears to constitute the indispensable condition even of being worthy of happiness.There are even some qualities which are of service to this good will itself and may facilitate its action, yetwhich have no intrinsic unconditional value, but always presuppose a good will, and this qualifies the esteemthat we justly have for them and does not permit us to regard them as absolutely good. Moderation in theaffections and passions, self-control, and calm deliberation are not only good in many respects, but even seemto constitute part of the intrinsic worth of the person; but they are far from deserving to be called good withoutqualification, although they have been so unconditionally praised by the ancients. For without the principlesof a good will, they may become extremely bad, and the coolness of a villain not only makes him far moredangerous, but also directly makes him more abominable in our eyes than he would have been without it.A good will is good not because of what it performs or effects, not by its aptness for the attainment of someproposed end, but simply by virtue of the volition; that is, it is good in itself, and considered by itself is to beesteemed much higher than all that can be brought about by it in favour of any inclination, nay even of thesum total of all inclinations. Even if it should happen that, owing to special disfavour of fortune, or theniggardly provision of a step-motherly nature, this will should wholly lack power to accomplish its purpose, ifwith its greatest efforts it should yet achieve nothing, and there should remain only the good will (not, to besure, a mere wish, but the summoning of all means in our power), then, like a jewel, it would still shine by itsown light, as a thing which has its whole value in itself. Its usefulness or fruitfulness can neither add nor takeaway anything from this value. It would be, as it were, only the setting to enable us to handle it the moreconveniently in common commerce, or to attract to it the attention of those who are not yet connoisseurs, butnot to recommend it to true connoisseurs, or to determine its value.There is, however, something so strange in this idea of the absolute value of the mere will, in which noaccount is taken of its utility, that notwithstanding the thorough assent of even common reason to the idea, yeta suspicion must arise that it may perhaps really be the product of mere high-flown fancy, and that we mayhave misunderstood the purpose of nature in assigning reason as the governor of our will. Therefore we willexamine this idea from this point of view.In the physical constitution of an organized being, that is, a being adapted suitably to the purposes of life, weassume it as a fundamental principle that no organ for any purpose will be found but what is also the fittestand best adapted for that purpose. Now in a being which has reason and a will, if the proper object of naturewere its conservation, its welfare, in a word, its happiness, then nature would have hit upon a very badarrangement in selecting the reason of the creature to carry out this purpose. For all the actions which thecreature has to perform with a view to this purpose, and the whole rule of its conduct, would be far moresurely prescribed to it by instinct, and that end would have been attained thereby much more certainly than itever can be by reason. Should reason have been communicated to this favoured creature over and above, itmust only have served it to contemplate the happy constitution of its nature, to admire it, to congratulate itselfthereon, and to feel thankful for it to the beneficent cause, but not that it should subject its desires to that weakand delusive guidance and meddle bunglingly with the purpose of nature. In a word, nature would have takencare that reason should not break forth into practical exercise, nor have the presumption, with its weak insight,to think out for itself the plan of happiness, and of the means of attaining it. Nature would not only have takenon herself the choice of the ends, but also of the means, and with wise foresight would have entrusted both toinstinct.Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 5And, in fact, we find that the more a cultivated reason applies itself with deliberate purpose to the enjoymentof life and happiness, so much the more does the man fail of true satisfaction. And from this circumstancethere arises in many, if they are candid enough to confess it, a certain degree of misology, that is, hatred ofreason, especially in the case of those who are most experienced in the use of it, because after calculating allthe advantages they derive, I do not say from the invention of all the arts of common luxury, but even fromthe sciences (which seem to them to be after all only a luxury of the understanding), they find that they have,in fact, only brought more trouble on their shoulders. rather than gained in happiness; and they end byenvying, rather than despising, the more common stamp of men who keep closer to the guidance of mereinstinct and do not allow their reason much influence on their conduct. And this we must admit, that thejudgement of those who would very much lower the lofty eulogies of the advantages which reason gives us inregard to the happiness and satisfaction of life, or who would even reduce them below zero, is by no meansmorose or ungrateful to the goodness with which the world is governed, but that there lies at the root of thesejudgements the idea that our existence has a different and far nobler end, for which, and not for happiness,reason is properly intended, and which must, therefore, be regarded as the supreme condition to which theprivate ends of man must, for the most part, be postponed.For as reason is not competent to guide the will with certainty in regard to its objects and the satisfaction of allour wants (which it to some extent even multiplies), this being an end to which an implanted instinct wouldhave led with much greater certainty; and since, nevertheless, reason is imparted to us as a practical faculty,i.e., as one which is to have influence on the will, therefore, admitting that nature generally in the distributionof her capacities has adapted the means to the end, its true destination must be to produce a will, not merelygood as a means to something else, but good in itself, for which reason was absolutely necessary. This willthen, though not indeed the sole and complete good, must be the supreme good and the condition of everyother, even of the desire of happiness. Under these circumstances, there is nothing inconsistent with thewisdom of nature in the fact that the cultivation of the reason, which is requisite for the first and unconditionalpurpose, does in many ways interfere, at least in this life, with the attainment of the second, which is alwaysconditional, namely, happiness. Nay, it may even reduce it to nothing, without nature thereby failing of herpurpose. For reason recognizes the establishment of a good will as its highest practical destination, and inattaining this purpose is capable only of a satisfaction of its own proper kind, namely that from the attainmentof an end, which end again is determined by reason only, notwithstanding that this may involve many adisappointment to the ends of inclination.We have then to develop the notion of a will which deserves to be highly esteemed for itself and is goodwithout a view to anything further, a notion which exists already in the sound natural understanding, requiringrather to be cleared up than to be taught, and which in estimating the value of our actions always takes the firstplace and constitutes the condition of all the rest. In order to do this, we will take the notion of duty, whichincludes that of a good will, although implying certain subjective restrictions and hindrances. These, however,far from concealing it, or rendering it unrecognizable, rather bring it out by contrast and make it shine forth somuch the brighter.I omit here all actions which are already recognized as inconsistent with duty, although they may be useful forthis or that purpose, for with these the question whether they are done from duty cannot arise at all, since theyeven conflict with it. I also set aside those actions which really conform to duty, but to which men have nodirect inclination, performing them because they are impelled thereto by some other inclination. For in thiscase we can readily distinguish whether the action which agrees with duty is done from duty, or from a selfishview. It is much harder to make this distinction when the action accords with duty and the subject has besidesa direct inclination to it. For example, it is always a matter of duty that a dealer should not over charge aninexperienced purchaser; and wherever there is much commerce the prudent tradesman does not overcharge,but keeps a fixed price for everyone, so that a child buys of him as well as any other. Men are thus honestlyserved; but this is not enough to make us believe that the tradesman has so acted from duty and fromprinciples of honesty: his own advantage required it; it is out of the question in this case to suppose that hemight besides have a direct inclination in favour of the buyers, so that, as it were, from love he should give noFundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 6advantage to one over another. Accordingly the action was done neither from duty nor from direct inclination,but merely with a selfish view.On the other hand, it is a duty to maintain one's life; and, in addition, everyone has also a direct inclination todo so. But on this account the of anxious care which most men take for it has no intrinsic worth, and theirmaxim has no moral import. They preserve their life as duty requires, no doubt, but not because duty requires.On the other band, if adversity and hopeless sorrow have completely taken away the relish for life; if theunfortunate one, strong in mind, indignant at his fate rather than desponding or dejected, wishes for death, andyet preserves his life without loving it- not from inclination or fear, but from duty- then his maxim has a moralworth.To be beneficent when we can is a duty; and besides this, there are many minds so sympathetically constitutedthat, without any other motive of vanity or self-interest, they find a pleasure in spreading joy around them andcan take delight in the satisfaction of others so far as it is their own work. But I maintain that in such a case anaction of this kind, however proper, however amiable it may be, has nevertheless no true moral worth, but ison a level with other inclinations, e.g., the inclination to honour, which, if it is happily directed to that whichis in fact of public utility and accordant with duty and consequently honourable, deserves praise andencouragement, but not esteem. For the maxim lacks the moral import, namely, that such actions be donefrom duty, not from inclination. Put the case that the mind of that philanthropist were clouded by sorrow ofhis own, extinguishing all sympathy with the lot of others, and that, while he still has the power to benefitothers in distress, he is not touched by their trouble because he is absorbed with his own; and now supposethat he tears himself out of this dead insensibility, and performs the action without any inclination to it, butsimply from duty, then first has his action its genuine moral worth. Further still; if nature has put littlesympathy in the heart of this or that man; if he, supposed to be an upright man, is by temperament cold andindifferent to the sufferings of others, perhaps because in respect of his own he is provided with the specialgift of patience and fortitude and supposes, or even requires, that others should have the same- and such a manwould certainly not be the meanest product of nature- but if nature had not specially framed him for aphilanthropist, would he not still find in himself a source from whence to give himself a far higher worth thanthat of a good-natured temperament could be? Unquestionably. It is just in this that the moral worth of thecharacter is brought out which is incomparably the highest of all, namely, that he is beneficent, not frominclination, but from duty.To secure one's own happiness is a duty, at least indirectly; for discontent with one's condition, under apressure of many anxieties and amidst unsatisfied wants, might easily become a great temptation totransgression of duty. But here again, without looking to duty, all men have already the strongest and mostintimate inclination to happiness, because it is just in this idea that all inclinations are combined in one total.But the precept of happiness is often of such a sort that it greatly interferes with some inclinations, and yet aman cannot form any definite and certain conception of the sum of satisfaction of all of them which is calledhappiness. It is not then to be wondered at that a single inclination, definite both as to what it promises and asto the time within which it can be gratified, is often able to overcome such a fluctuating idea, and that a goutypatient, for instance, can choose to enjoy what he likes, and to suffer what he may, since, according to hiscalculation, on this occasion at least, be has not sacrificed the enjoyment of the present moment to a possiblymistaken expectation of a happiness which is supposed to be found in health. But even in this case, if thegeneral desire for happiness did not influence his will, and supposing that in his particular case health was nota necessary element in this calculation, there yet remains in this, as in all other cases, this law, namely, that heshould promote his happiness not from inclination but from duty, and by this would his conduct first acquiretrue moral worth.It is in this manner, undoubtedly, that we are to understand those passages of Scripture also in which we arecommanded to love our neighbour, even our enemy. For love, as an affection, cannot be commanded, butbeneficence for duty's sake may; even though we are not impelled to it by any inclination- nay, are evenrepelled by a natural and unconquerable aversion. This is practical love and not pathological- a love which isFundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 7seated in the will, and not in the propensions of sense- in principles of action and not of tender sympathy; andit is this love alone which can be commanded.The second proposition is: That an action done from duty derives its moral worth, not from the purpose whichis to be attained by it, but from the maxim by which it is determined, and therefore does not depend on therealization of the object of the action, but merely on the principle of volition by which the action has takenplace, without regard to any object of desire. It is clear from what precedes that the purposes which we mayhave in view in our actions, or their effects regarded as ends and springs of the will, cannot give to actions anyunconditional or moral worth. In what, then, can their worth lie, if it is not to consist in the will and inreference to its expected effect? It cannot lie anywhere but in the principle of the will without regard to theends which can be attained by the action. For the will stands between its a priori principle, which is formal,and its a posteriori spring, which is material, as between two roads, and as it must be determined bysomething, it that it must be determined by the formal principle of volition when an action is done from duty,in which case every material principle has been withdrawn from it.The third proposition, which is a consequence of the two preceding, I would express thus Duty is the necessityof acting from respect for the law. I may have inclination for an object as the effect of my proposed action, butI cannot have respect for it, just for this reason, that it is an effect and not an energy of will. Similarly I cannothave respect for inclination, whether my own or another's; I can at most, if my own, approve it; if another's,sometimes even love it; i.e., look on it as favourable to my own interest. It is only what is connected with mywill as a principle, by no means as an effect- what does not subserve my inclination, but overpowers it, or atleast in case of choice excludes it from its calculation- in other words, simply the law of itself, which can bean object of respect, and hence a command. Now an action done from duty must wholly exclude the influenceof inclination and with it every object of the will, so that nothing remains which can determine the will exceptobjectively the law, and subjectively pure respect for this practical law, and consequently the maxim * that Ishould follow this law even to the thwarting of all my inclinations.* A maxim is the subjective principle of volition. The objective principle (i.e., that which would also servesubjectively as a practical principle to all rational beings if reason had full power over the faculty of desire) isthe practical law.Thus the moral worth of an action does not lie in the effect expected from it, nor in any principle of actionwhich requires to borrow its motive from this expected effect. For all these effects- agreeableness of one'scondition and even the promotion of the happiness of others- could have been also brought about by othercauses, so that for this there would have been no need of the will of a rational being; whereas it is in this alonethat the supreme and unconditional good can be found. The pre-eminent good which we call moral cantherefore consist in nothing else than the conception of law in itself, which certainly is only possible in arational being, in so far as this conception, and not the expected effect, determines the will. This is a goodwhich is already present in the person who acts accordingly, and we have not to wait for it to appear first inthe result. ** It might be here objected to me that I take refuge behind the word respect in an obscure feeling, instead ofgiving a distinct solution of the question by a concept of the reason. But although respect is a feeling, it is nota feeling received through influence, but is self-wrought by a rational concept, and, therefore, is specificallydistinct from all feelings of the former kind, which may be referred either to inclination or fear, What Irecognise immediately as a law for me, I recognise with respect. This merely signifies the consciousness thatmy will is subordinate to a law, without the intervention of other influences on my sense. The immediatedetermination of the will by the law, and the consciousness of this, is called respect, so that this is regarded asan effect of the law on the subject, and not as the cause of it. Respect is properly the conception of a worthwhich thwarts my self-love. Accordingly it is something which is considered neither as an object ofinclination nor of fear, although it has something analogous to both. The object of respect is the law only, andthat the law which we impose on ourselves and yet recognise as necessary in itself. As a law, we are subjectedFundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 8too it without consulting self-love; as imposed by us on ourselves, it is a result of our will. In the formeraspect it has an analogy to fear, in the latter to inclination. Respect for a person is properly only respect for thelaw (of honesty, etc.) of which he gives us an example. Since we also look on the improvement of our talentsas a duty, we consider that we see in a person of talents, as it were, the example of a law (viz., to become likehim in this by exercise), and this constitutes our respect. All so-called moral interest consists simply in respectfor the law.But what sort of law can that be, the conception of which must determine the will, even without paying anyregard to the effect expected from it, in order that this will may be called good absolutely and withoutqualification? As I have deprived the will of every impulse which could arise to it from obedience to any law,there remains nothing but the universal conformity of its actions to law in general, which alone is to serve thewill as a principle, i.e., I am never to act otherwise than so that I could also will that my maxim shouldbecome a universal law. Here, now, it is the simple conformity to law in general, without assuming anyparticular law applicable to certain actions, that serves the will as its principle and must so serve it, if duty isnot to be a vain delusion and a chimerical notion. The common reason of men in its practical judgementsperfectly coincides with this and always has in view the principle here suggested. Let the question be, forexample: May I when in distress make a promise with the intention not to keep it? I readily distinguish herebetween the two significations which the question may have: Whether it is prudent, or whether it is right, tomake a false promise? The former may undoubtedly of be the case. I see clearly indeed that it is not enough toextricate myself from a present difficulty by means of this subterfuge, but it must be well considered whetherthere may not hereafter spring from this lie much greater inconvenience than that from which I now freemyself, and as, with all my supposed cunning, the consequences cannot be so easily foreseen but that creditonce lost may be much more injurious to me than any mischief which I seek to avoid at present, it should beconsidered whether it would not be more prudent to act herein according to a universal maxim and to make ita habit to promise nothing except with the intention of keeping it. But it is soon clear to me that such a maximwill still only be based on the fear of consequences. Now it is a wholly different thing to be truthful from dutyand to be so from apprehension of injurious consequences. In the first case, the very notion of the actionalready implies a law for me; in the second case, I must first look about elsewhere to see what results may becombined with it which would affect myself. For to deviate from the principle of duty is beyond all doubtwicked; but to be unfaithful to my maxim of prudence may often be very advantageous to me, although toabide by it is certainly safer. The shortest way, however, and an unerring one, to discover the answer to thisquestion whether a lying promise is consistent with duty, is to ask myself, "Should I be content that mymaxim (to extricate myself from difficulty by a false promise) should hold good as a universal law, for myselfas well as for others? and should I be able to say to myself, "Every one may make a deceitful promise when hefinds himself in a difficulty from which he cannot otherwise extricate himself?" Then I presently becomeaware that while I can will the lie, I can by no means will that lying should be a universal law. For with such alaw there would be no promises at all, since it would be in vain to allege my intention in regard to my futureactions to those who would not believe this allegation, or if they over hastily did so would pay me back in myown coin. Hence my maxim, as soon as it should be made a universal law, would necessarily destroy itself.I do not, therefore, need any far-reaching penetration to discern what I have to do in order that my will may bemorally good. Inexperienced in the course of the world, incapable of being prepared for all its contingencies, Ionly ask myself: Canst thou also will that thy maxim should be a universal law? If not, then it must berejected, and that not because of a disadvantage accruing from it to myself or even to others, but because itcannot enter as a principle into a possible universal legislation, and reason extorts from me immediate respectfor such legislation. I do not indeed as yet discern on what this respect is based (this the philosopher mayinquire), but at least I understand this, that it is an estimation of the worth which far outweighs all worth ofwhat is recommended by inclination, and that the necessity of acting from pure respect for the practical law iswhat constitutes duty, to which every other motive must give place, because it is the condition of a will beinggood in itself, and the worth of such a will is above everything.Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 9Thus, then, without quitting the moral knowledge of common human reason, we have arrived at its principle.And although, no doubt, common men do not conceive it in such an abstract and universal form, yet theyalways have it really before their eyes and use it as the standard of their decision. Here it would be easy toshow how, with this compass in hand, men are well able to distinguish, in every case that occurs, what isgood, what bad, conformably to duty or inconsistent with it, if, without in the least teaching them anythingnew, we only, like Socrates, direct their attention to the principle they themselves employ; and that, therefore,we do not need science and philosophy to know what we should do to be honest and good, yea, even wise andvirtuous. Indeed we might well have conjectured beforehand that the knowledge of what every man is boundto do, and therefore also to know, would be within the reach of every man, even the commonest. Here wecannot forbear admiration when we see how great an advantage the practical judgement has over thetheoretical in the common understanding of men. In the latter, if common reason ventures to depart from thelaws of experience and from the perceptions of the senses, it falls into mere inconceivabilities andself-contradictions, at least into a chaos of uncertainty, obscurity, and instability. But in the practical sphere itis just when the common understanding excludes all sensible springs from practical laws that its power ofjudgement begins to show itself to advantage. It then becomes even subtle, whether it be that it chicanes withits own conscience or with other claims respecting what is to be called right, or whether it desires for its owninstruction to determine honestly the worth of actions; and, in the latter case, it may even have as good a hopeof hitting the mark as any philosopher whatever can promise himself. Nay, it is almost more sure of doing so,because the philosopher cannot have any other principle, while he may easily perplex his judgement by amultitude of considerations foreign to the matter, and so turn aside from the right way. Would it not thereforebe wiser in moral concerns to acquiesce in the judgement of common reason, or at most only to call inphilosophy for the purpose of rendering the system of morals more complete and intelligible, and its rulesmore convenient for use (especially for disputation), but not so as to draw off the common understanding fromits happy simplicity, or to bring it by means of philosophy into a new path of inquiry and instruction?Innocence is indeed a glorious thing; only, on the other hand, it is very sad that it cannot well maintain itselfand is easily seduced. On this account even wisdom- which otherwise consists more in conduct than inknowledge- yet has need of science, not in order to learn from it, but to secure for its precepts admission andpermanence. Against all the commands of duty which reason represents to man as so deserving of respect, hefeels in himself a powerful counterpoise in his wants and inclinations, the entire satisfaction of which he sumsup under the name of happiness. Now reason issues its commands unyieldingly, without promising anythingto the inclinations, and, as it were, with disregard and contempt for these claims, which are so impetuous, andat the same time so plausible, and which will not allow themselves to be suppressed by any command. Hencethere arises a natural dialectic, i.e., a disposition, to argue against these strict laws of duty and to question theirvalidity, or at least their purity and strictness; and, if possible, to make them more accordant with our wishesand inclinations, that is to say, to corrupt them at their very source, and entirely to destroy their worth- a thingwhich even common practical reason cannot ultimately call good.Thus is the common reason of man compelled to go out of its sphere, and to take a step into the field of apractical philosophy, not to satisfy any speculative want (which never occurs to it as long as it is content to bemere sound reason), but even on practical grounds, in order to attain in it information and clear instructionrespecting the source of its principle, and the correct determination of it in opposition to the maxims which arebased on wants and inclinations, so that it may escape from the perplexity of opposite claims and not run therisk of losing all genuine moral principles through the equivocation into which it easily falls. Thus, whenpractical reason cultivates itself, there insensibly arises in it a dialetic which forces it to seek aid inphilosophy, just as happens to it in its theoretic use; and in this case, therefore, as well as in the other, it willfind rest nowhere but in a thorough critical examination of our reason.SEC_2SECOND SECTIONFundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 10[...]... possible kingdom of ends as with a kingdom of nature * There is a Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 26 progress here in the order of the categories of unity of the form of the will (its universality), plurality of the matter (the objects, i.e., the ends), and totality of the system of these In forming our moral judgement of actions, it is better to proceed always on the strict method... thing without therefore acting from interest The former signifies the practical interest in the action, the latter the pathological in the object of the action The former indicates only dependence of the will on principles of reason in themselves; the second, dependence on principles of reason for the sake of inclination, reason supplying only the practical rules how the requirement of the inclination... Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 28 of Morality If the will seeks the law which is to determine it anywhere else than in the fitness of its maxims to be universal laws of its own dictation, consequently if it goes out of itself and seeks this law in the character of any of its objects, there always results heteronomy The will in that case does not give itself the law, but it is given by the. .. categorically Whether the object determines the will by means of inclination, as in the principle of private happiness, or by means of reason directed to objects of our possible volition generally, as in the principle of perfection, in either case the will never determines itself immediately by the conception of the action, but only by the influence which the foreseen effect of the action has on the will;... professed to have a proof of it in our power We simply showed by the development of the universally received notion of morality that an autonomy of the will is inevitably connected with it, or rather is its foundation Whoever then holds morality to be anything real, and not a chimerical idea without any Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 30 truth, must likewise admit the principle of. .. inclinations If therefore I were only a member of the world of understanding, then all my actions would perfectly conform to the principle of autonomy of the pure will; if I were only a part of the world of sense, they would necessarily be assumed to conform wholly to the natural law of desires and inclinations, in other words, to the heteronomy of nature (The former would rest on morality as the supreme... belonging to the world of sense, yet on the other side I must recognize myself as subject as an intelligence to the law of the world of understanding, i.e., to reason, which contains this law in the idea of freedom, and therefore as subject to the autonomy of the will: consequently I must regard the laws of the world of understanding as imperatives for me and the actions which conform to them as duties... sensible desires there is added further the idea of the same will but as belonging to the world of the understanding, pure and practical of itself, which contains the supreme condition according to reason of the former will; precisely as to the intuitions of sense there are added concepts of the understanding which of themselves signify nothing but regular form in general and in this way synthetic a priori... infer even the possibility of such apodeictic laws For with what right could we bring into unbounded respect as a universal precept for every rational nature that which Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 12 perhaps holds only under the contingent conditions of humanity? Or how could laws of the determination of our will be regarded as laws of the determination of the will of rational... supreme principle, the latter on happiness.) Since, however, the world of understanding contains the foundation of the world of sense, and consequently of its laws also, and Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals 34 accordingly gives the law to my will (which belongs wholly to the world of understanding) directly, and must be conceived as doing so, it follows that, although on the one side I . Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals The Project Gutenberg EBook of Fundamental Principals of the Metaphysic of Morals by Immanuel. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPALS OF THE METAPHYSIC OF MORALS ***This eBook was prepared by Matthew Stapleton.1785 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF THE METAPHYSIC OF MORALS by
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